Fortune always seems to find me. I tackled Artist’s Alley at New York Comic Con 13 as I attack every project: simply start at the beginning and diligently work my way to the end, not missing one booth along the way. Many reporters cherry-pick, as indicated by the plethora of press badges surveying the big board of creator assignments by booth number. For me, there are just too many damn names to remember in comics, and if you don’t hit every booth, fortune will pass you by because you cared more about your endeavor to get more clicks on your site versus caring about covering comics.
First booth, all the way to the right I saw Ivan Reis. I’ve loved his stuff on GREEN LANTERN, so I figured I snap a quick pick.
A lot of other people had the same intention. Abhorring lines, I was ready to walk away until once again fortune decided to take over. Standing next to Ivan was an assuming man named Ivan Da Costa–also Brazilian like Reis, and also thankfully a man possessing much better skills at English than I have in Portuguese.
However, I still didn’t get the gist of the book he was trying to give me. Something about a gallery and something about a lot of different artists contributing. I also shouldn’t just call it a book. I get a lot of books bequeathed to me in hopes of review; I get very few coffee table-sized behemoths. It was gorgeous in size and production stock. But I still didn’t quite understand how special this piece was.
I got back to my hotel room and decided to soak my feet for an hour or so before hitting the after-con parties. As I was feeling the effects of middle age ease out of my feet into the warm water, I studied Comic Book Icons’ spartan but haunting cover of famous comic eyes entreating me to look further. Mickey Mouse, Sandman, Betty Boop, Dr. Doom…was Da Costa Mafioso able to scribe the greatest story ever told in comics? But then I noticed, none were done in their traditional style.
I opened up the hard stock cover and skipped right over the intros, as I often do. No sentimental forwards will dare to sully my journey through a tale. And I was presented with a full page spread of Aquaman as I had never seen him rendered before. I said out loud as I often do since being an only child has made it a lifelong verbal tick, “That’s cool–looks like BATMAN BEYOND.” Looking at the page next to the pretty picture I saw a description of who Aquaman is, Thony Silas’ picture explaining why he loves the character and Thony’s bio confirming my BATMAN BEYOND suspicions. Written in both English and Portuguese, the pages continued.
Superman by Jeff Lemire, Calvin and Hobbes by Eddy Barrow, Swamp Thing by Phil Hester, Sgt. Rock by Darwyn Cooke, The Shadow by Sean Murphey, Thor by Mike McKone.
The star power overwhelmed me. My hour quickly slid away, as I was at first star-struck and then awestruck by the slew of names that I have never heard of, but whose interpretations of icons and raw energy crackled off the page. Popeye, Betty Boop, Sandman, Death of The Endless, Wolverine…each page turn brought forth another character I’ve always had to go to a different book to look at, thanks to lawyers and the corporatization of this medium.
Then I said, “Wait a minute–how the hell did this book get put together? This is like copyright chum in the water for the sharks of Cheatum and Soo.” The forward…
So, apparently every year Ivan Da Costa holds an art show in Brazil. He gets creators from around the world to contribute. For the 2013 show, he decided to put all the pictures inside this treasure trove.
The pictures, the anecdotes and the sheer adoration of seeing our creators celebrate their fandom make this book a gorgeous historical artifact of this period in comic history.
After a quick web search I found out this book is seeking Kickstarter funding. Since my Portuguese sucks, I think it still has a fair amount of time left to completely blow away it’s already doubled goal. There are very few of these projects I believe in, but those I do I will review. I have never endorsed one, though, or asked readers to contribute. Do yourself a favor and give to COMIC BOOK ICONS. I have held the finished product, and you would be lucky to do the same.